WHAT ARE THE EXTRA COSTS TO BUILD MY HOME WITH A HIGHER BUSHFIRE RATING?
Reading our prior blog on bushfire ratings will provide a bit more context to this one, but along with the question we get about bushfire ratings – or the Bushfire Attack Level, commonly known as BAL – is the question of cost. And it’s obviously a very genuine question, especially when you’re going to be building in an area that has a higher risk of fire.
But here’s a quick comment before we delve into the numbers.
Every home design is unique; there are a huge variety of materials used in different homes; every builder has their own way of doing things, and of course every site is different. So there’s not a one-size-fits-all rule that can be applied to the costs associated with higher bushfire ratings. But having said that, the Australian Standard of how the risk of bushfires affects the home does mean that there’s some level of consistency across the industry. This is great, because it means we can use some general cost ranges for a series of sizes and styles.
The following table is based on the criteria from the Australian Standard AS3959-2009 Construction Of Buildings In Bushfire-Prone Areas. Most of Victoria, apart from the suburbs of the main towns and cities, is BAL 12.5, and this means that many builders – especially country home builders – already have the additional items needed for BAL 12.5 built into their base price. BAL 19 and 29 are more common in wooded areas and are continuing to happen on a regular basis in certain parts of the country. BAL 40 is rare but still happens occasionally, but BAL FZ is extremely rare, and many builders don’t offer this, and because of this, we’ve excluded it from the table.
The prices shown within the table are a range, not one set amount, and this is because it depends on multiple things, including the following –
• The size, style and format of the home
• Whether the home is brick or weatherboard
• Quantity of verandahs and decking
• Type, size and quantity of windows
• Location – freight & travel costs
|Price range per home|
|BAL 12.5||BAL 19||BAL 29||BAL 40|
|2 – 3 Bedrooms||$2,500 – $3,500||$4,500 – $7,500||$15,000 – $28,000||$26,000 – $40,000|
|4 – 5 Bedrooms||$3,200 – $4,800||$5,800 – $11,500||$17,500 – $33,000||$29,000 – $48,000|
Obviously at some point in your journey to get a new home, these costs will be firmly established by the builder or architect. But in some cases, it may take a few bites at the cherry to come up with the best balance of product and design for it be most cost effective. In higher bushfire rating areas, this will be determined to some extent by the bushfire report that’s prepared for your site.
As always, feel free to ask for more information!
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